News

Matt Bush BPR

Turkish authorities freed pastor Andrew Brunson Friday after he’s been held there for two years on house arrest, sparking a diplomatic fight between the U.S.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Perhaps the biggest race on the ballot for North Carolina voters is for a seat on the state Supreme Court.  The seat is currently held by Republican Barbara Jackson.  She has two challengers in Democrat Anita Earls and Republican Chris Anglin.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb conducted in-depth interviews with each of them.

Photo courtesy of Southwestern Community College

  There isn't just a lack of hospitals in rural Western North Carolina. There is also a need for more trained medical professionals to care for the population from doctors and nurses to CNAs.

 

This summer, Southwestern Community College secured over $20 million dollars from the federal, state and county governments for a new health sciences building.

 

Cory Vaillancourt

Since Democratic Governor Roy Cooper took office in 2017, he’s faced veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative chambers. Democrats’ best chance to break that is with a pickup of four seats in the House this November, and two Western North Carolina races will prove pivotal in that effort.

McDowell County EMS

(Thursday 1:45 p.m.) - Heavy rainfall overnight caused isolated flooding in various parts of Western North Carolina, and a tropical storm warning remains in effect for at least the rest of Thursday in Asheville and Weaverville. 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper asked state legislators Wednesday for $750 million toward a proposed long-term $1.5 billion Hurricane Florence recovery effort, with an early focus on housing, farms, business and schools.

The Democratic governor unveiled his request while providing new estimates for the scope of last month's storm, which dumped more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain in some areas of southeastern North Carolina and contributed to 40 deaths in the state.

National Hurricane Center

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In the storm-weary Carolinas, Hurricane Michael's approach is stoking fresh fears among homeowners who still have tarps on their roofs or industrial dehumidifiers drying their floors from destruction left by Hurricane Florence.

Blue Ridge Public Radio and its media partners will hold three candidate forums next week.  Both forums will be broadcast live as Facebook Live videos that can be watched on the BPR Facebook page.

Matt Bush BPR

The hotel construction boom in Asheville is showing no signs of slowing down.  Once of the city's most iconic buildings appears to the be the next that will transform into a hotel.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas stopped by the BPR studios to talk with Matt Bush about the future of the Flatiron Building - as well as the latest of the other parts of Asheville's hotel boom.

Excerpts of the interview - 

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Jamieson Ridenhour remembers himself as a 10-year-old, reading the original “Dracula” novel and staying awake with his mother well past midnight to watch classic horror movies.

Nearly four decades later, Ridenhour has built a career from his early obsession.

“Good horror writing works when it’s more than just the horror, when it has some kind of psychological depth to it,” he said. “There’s a metaphor for something else going on.”

James Doyle NPR

In an unusual weekend session, the U.S. Senate advances to a final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Watch the proceedings live below.

UNC Asheville

A study that will research the perceptions of racism and health among African Americans in Western North Carolina has received a $350-thousand grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The study is being conducted by UNC Asheville, the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), and the Mountain Area Health Education Center, commonly known as MAHEC.  

James Doyle NPR

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), is speaking on the floor of the US Senate today (approximately 3:00 PM Eastern Time). She's talking about her position on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Collins is one of the small group of Senators who could swing the confirmation vote either way. Watch her statement live.

BPR

State health officials have extended the immunization deadline for public school students to November first - to give more time to families impacted by Hurricane Florence.  Meantime, in Western North Carolina, health officials are facing a different kind of vaccination challenge – the growing number of parents who are choosing not to immunize their children.   BPR’s Helen Chickering has been following the newly formed immunization coalition as it works to reverse that trend.  She checked in with them in September, during one of their meetings.

When Kathryn Edin was studying poverty in the U.S., she and Luke Schaefer made a startling discovery - the number of households in the U.S.

Our VOICE Facebook page

Buncombe County’s rape crisis and prevention center says it has seen a surge in calls before, during, and after last Thursday's hearing featuring Dr. Christine Ford.  She testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee allegations that supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. 

Lilly Knoepp

The first piece of a project connecting historical sites of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee is complete.  When the full project is finished, a cultural corridor will run over 60 miles along the Little Tennessee River from Rabun County in Georgia to the town of Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. The effort has been a long time coming.

Matt Bush BPR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A lawsuit challenging the replacement for North Carolina's "bathroom bill" is moving forward, with a judge finding evidence that transgender plaintiffs are being harmed by a prohibition on new local antidiscrimination laws.

Federal Judge Thomas Schroeder, however, rejected another key argument: that uncertainty created by the current law effectively discriminates against transgender people.

Photo by Bear Allison (Courtesy of The Museum Of The Cherokee Indian)

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is hoping to improve attendance and inspire new artists through its newest expansion.

 

A new room at the Museum of the Cherokee won’t be full of any ancient artifacts.  Museum director Bo Taylor says, instead, it will be a gallery space for local artists.

 

Sandlin Gaither


Imagine you’re in a band performing at a club or even if you’re just a solo artist with a guitar in a coffeeshop. You want to sense people are listening. You want engagement. You want applause.

That is, unless you’re one of the members of the longtime Asheville trio Free Planet Radio. They recall a recent show at the Light Center in Black Mountain that was one continuous flow of music for nearly 90 minutes.

“Everyone is lying on their backs with their eyes closed,” said guitarist and composer Chris Rosser. “It’s more like a meditative experience, definitely the opposite of a concert, really.”

Frank Stasio & State of Things Back in Asheville

Oct 1, 2018

Our colleagues at the State of Things return to Asheville on October 11 - 12 for live broadcasts of the popular midday news and talk program that covers a wide range of North Carolina issues and events. 

Listen at noon on Thursday, October 11, and then join us beginning at 5:00 pm for a meet-up with the SOT and BPR News teams.

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI agents interviewed one of the three women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct as Republicans and Democrats quarreled over whether the bureau would have enough time and freedom to conduct a thorough investigation before a high-stakes vote on his nomination to the nation's highest court.

Thanks to everyone who supported Blue Ridge Public Radio's Fall Membership Drive. It took a brief extra inning to get there, but we did it - without interrupting one minute of the programs you count on. More than 1,300 listeners helped us raise more than $200,000. 

Blue Ridge Public Radio brings you programming that enriches your life and fundraising that respects the very reason you listen. We couldn't be more proud of you - loyal and committed listeners who know how important this service is. Everything you hear is made possible by contributing listeners. 

James Doyle NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination Friday afternoon at 1:30.  A full Senate vote on the nomination is expected as early next week.  Watch the proceeding live below.

James Doyle NPR

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  You can watch the proceeding live starting at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.  Blue Ridge Public Radio will also broadcast the proceedings live on both BPR Classic and BPR News Thursday.

The latest report from Buncombe County tourism officials shows just how much short-term rentals have completely transformed lodging in the area.  Short-term rentals, booked through sites like AirBnB, have seen rapid growth in the past two years.  The report compiled the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority shows in 2015, just under 92-thousand room nights were booked with short-term rentals.  Just two years later, that number was over 392-thousand.  Tha

Wikicommons/Jacek Haliki

President Trump holds a news conference following the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. In a speech Tuesday, Trump defended his "America First" agenda and touted the "tremendous progress" made in negotiations with North Korea. The press conference comes a day before Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, faces questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee after two women accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

The press conference is expected to start at 5 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.  The video will go live below shortly before then.

ncleg.net

Marie Colton, a former state representative from Asheville who rose to the number two position in the North Carolina House becoming the first woman to hold the position, died Tuesday at the age of 95.  Her daughter Liz confirmed her mother's death to BPR.

Marie Colton was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and served in office for 16 years.  In 1991, she was elected speaker pro tempore - becoming the first woman to hold the prestigious number two position in the chamber.  Her husband Henry served on Asheville city council.  He died in 2011.

Jones County Schools

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on flooding caused by former Hurricane Florence (all times local):

4 p.m.

A North Carolina school superintendent says two of the six schools in his system will have to be demolished because of water damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

Jones County School Superintendent Michael Bracy said Jones Middle and Trenton Elementary schools received at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) of water in portions of the respective buildings. Bracy said by the time workers could get into the schools, mold and mildew had already formed.

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Melodie Galloway is bothered by what she sees every time she takes the podium at a rehearsal of the Asheville Choral Society.

“We are very, very white,” she said with a chuckle. “We have a few people of color, but we are heavily caucasian.”

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